Verse 14. For he knoweth our frame. He knows how we are made, for he made us. Our make and build, our constitution and temperament, our prevailing infirmity and most besetting temptation he well perceives, for he searches our inmost nature.
He remembereth that we are dust. Made of dust, dust still, and ready to return to dust. We have sometimes heard of "the Iron Duke," and of iron constitutions, but the words are soon belied, for the Iron Duke is dissolved, and other men of like rigour are following to the grave, where "dust to dust" is an appropriate requiem. We too often forget that we are dust, and try our minds and bodies unduly by excessive mental and bodily exertion, we are also too little mindful of the infirmities of others, and impose upon them burdens grievous to be borne; but our heavenly Father never overloads us, and never fails to give us strength equal to our day, because he always takes our frailty into account when he is apportioning to us our lot. Blessed be his holy name for this gentleness towards his frail creatures.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 14. He knoweth our frame. "Our formation;" the manner in which we are constructed, and the materials of which we are made. Adam Clarke.
Verse 14. He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Not like some unskilled empiric, who hath but one receipt for all, strong or weak, young or old; but as a wise physician considers his patient, and then writes his bill. Men and devils are but God's apothecaries, they make not our physic, but give what God prescribes. Balaam loved Balak's fee well enough, but could not go a hair's breadth beyond God's commission. William Gumall.
Verse 14. He remembereth that we are dust. As if the very matter out of which man was first made, though without sin, were a disadvantage to him, in the resisting of sin. It was a disadvantage before man had any sin in him, how much more is it now when most men have nothing at all in them but sin, and the best have very much. "That which is born of the flesh," saith Christ, "is flesh." Corrupt nature can produce none but corrupt acts. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 14. We are dust.
O how in this Thy quire of souls I stand,
-- Propt by Thy hand --
A heap of sand!
Which busie thoughts -- like winds -- would scatter quite,
And put to flight,
But for Thy might;
Thy hand alone doth tame
Those blasts, and knit my frame. Henry Vaughan.
Verse 14, 16. We are dust. I never see one of those spiral pillars of dust which, like a mimic simoon, rush along the road upon a windy day, with- ont thinking, "There is an image of life." Dust and a breath! Observe how the apparent "pillar" is but a condition, an active condition, of the particles of dust, and those particles continually changing. The form depends upon the incessant movement. The heavy sand floats on the impalpable air while it partakes its motion; let that cease and it fails, So the dull clods of the field, smitten by force, take wings and soar in life, partake for a time its rapid course, and then, the force exhausted, fall back into their former state. A whirl, a flux, maintained by forces without, and ceasing when they are withdrawn; that is our life. James Hinton, in "Thoughts on, Health and some of its Conditions," 1871.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- Man's Constitution.
- God's Consideration. W. D.